Play Ball!

About a year ago I bought myself a new flat screen tv to replace the old one. It was a treat for my birthday, which comes at the end of baseball season, beginning of football season. I hadn’t been watching or listening to much television for quite awhile. Mostly PBS and NPR and Spotify apps, and fast, young, athletic men in tight uniforms.

A cozy New England Patriots fleece throw—essential gear for Pats games in this weather; photo by Sheila Velazquez

There was a Red Sox game in progress when I set up the new television. Once I had all the passwords and cables connected, I sat back on the sofa and turned it on. I could not believe the clarity of the 4k. I could see the stitches in their britches!

There, I’ve said it. I avoid news and talk shows as though they were the plague, because, of course, they are.

And now the Red Sox face the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, the first time in more than 100 years. In 1916 Babe Ruth pitched for the Sox against the then Brooklyn Robins. The Sox took it. The 2018 series will be something to see.

I have enjoyed watching televised sports since I was a kid, sitting on the floor at the feet of my dad as we followed our favorite teams–then the Yankees and the football Giants–on the tiny black-and-white screen. We were also hooked on wrestling, which at the time was an actual sport. I wish we could sit together again in front of my big screen. He would have loved it.

When I was a preteen, I spent several summers in Saranac Lake, NY, with my newspaper publisher uncle and aunt whose only child was away at horse camp in VT. My cousin was three years older than I, and I benefited from their prosperity by bringing home armloads of beautiful clothes every summer. My favorites were a Dale Evans cowgirl outfit complete with two pistols in holsters and a baseball uniform.

I became friends with a girl about my age who lived down the street. Toni introduced me to the wonderful world of football, in the flesh. Within walking distance was the summer training camp of the New York Giants football team. Toni and I walked to the camp and boldly talked to the handsome men with their padded shoulders and helmeted heads. To two little girls, they truly were giants.

It was Frank Gifford’s first season with the team, and he and all of the other players signed my little brown leather-covered autograph book, which then became my most prized possession, but which went missing, likely during one of my adult moves. There was a Choo Choo somebody, but I can’t remember any of the other names. I’m sure there is a list online somewhere. There always is. We drank pop with the players at their outdoor benches and watched scrimmages on hot summer afternoons from under big leafy trees. It was a great time to be a kid.

I now follow the Patriots, who are again off and running. For this birthday I received a fleecy Patriots throw from my daughter, who said something about curling up with Tom Brady. She’s a sports fan too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Sheila Velazquez

Sheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent. Her awards include two from the Society of Professional Journalists for a syndicated column. Sheila has contributed to online websites, including and She served as contributing editor of Organic Producer magazine and wrote biographical material for reference collections that include “Contemporary Authors,” the “Encyclopedia of International Biography” and “Notable Sports Figures.” Feel free to send her an e-mail.

Previous Story

TLC #67: A hot property, office of the Northern Berkshire Register of Deeds surveyed by two candidates

Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
Next Story

Plenty #14: Farming While Black

Latest from General

Happy Hallmark Holiday

If you buy your holiday tree at a cut-your-own place, what tool do you bring or do they supply you with? Likely


I don’t know if I’m a cat person or a dog person. Love them both. I’m also a chicken, cow, goat, rabbit,

Winter Brew Review: Chatham Brewing

Editors Note: “The Brewsicologist,” a new feature, tours the landscape of craft beers of Greylock Nation. Although the Brewsicologist’s identity is a